TOG and I started our road trip with a plan, but we are nothing if not flexible. When we decided to skip Monument Valley and continue on to New Mexico, it turned Chaco Canyon from a drive-by visit into an primary stop. This ended up being a very good thing!
Chaco Canyon is not just a Pueblo ruin, it's a whole series of Pueblo ruins, some of which were 4 stories tall and regularly inhabited, others which were ceremonial in nature. Many had line of sight from one pueblo to another.
The wonderful thing about a modern day visit is that you can actually walk amongst the ruins and see views that the ancient canyon dwellers saw hundreds of years ago.
There were a small number of people there the day we visited, but it's quite remote and we had much of the site to ourselves. There are tons of nooks and crannies you can peer through or poke a camera into!
And walls to peep over...
The adventure really took off when we climbed a very narrow cliff trail to the canyon rim. The canyon inhabitants had carved stairs into the cliffside, but those had eroded and were barely visible.
The canyon floor opened up beneath us. We could see some of the ruins close up.
We could also see across to the next valley. The hike along the rim made you think of what the inhabitants had been looking for when they carved their stairs up to the rim. Did they just want to be closer to the sky, or were they looking at each other?
We'll never know the answers, but was a wonderful hike and we thoroughly enjoyed roaming through the canyon!